Maven's Nest

Reel Life: Flick Pix





ANNOTATED OVERVIEW OF WOMEN FILMMAKERS AT THE 2021 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

By Nora Lee Mandel



The 20th anniversary Tribeca Film Festival June 9 - 20, 2021 returns to its original role of revitalizing New York City after a crisis. After 9/11 the focus was on Downtown Manhattan, while now the post-pandemic scope extends city-wide, with indoor and outdoor screenings and events that encompass a myriad of categories and activities, including “At Home” streaming (that platform continues through June 23).

For those of us who follow women in film, the anticipated centerpiece of the Festival each year is the Nora Ephron Award “created to honor the spirit and vision of the legendary filmmaker and writer”. The jurors for the 9th Annual Nora Ephron Award are: actor and political activist Patricia Arquette; producer Mollye Asher; screenwriter and film producer Leslie Dixon; writer, director and actor, Judith Godreche; and actress, producer, and bestselling author Sharon Stone.

In 2020, the Ephron Award guidelines were more explicit than before: “One narrative film directed by or written by a woman making its World or International Premiere” and the award-eligible films were identified in advance. In 2021, even films not shown in competition were evidently eligible. I am usually the only film critic to follow previous Ephron Award winners.

I also spotlight women on the creative team, what I call, only in writing, “Women Crew-Ed Films”, the work of women collaborators in the Festival’s feature and short films, television offerings, N.O.W. (New Online Work) shorts for online platforms and “immersive” virtual reality projects– writers, cinematographers, editors, and composers, and more. Some of these artists may be future directors, but all are in the pool for future work-to-watch.

Many films that were not able to get full public attention at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival due to the pandemic are included in this year’s festival; last year I covered features by female filmmakers.

Many of the films not already picked up for commercial theatrical or network/platform distribution continue on the festival circuit around the U.S. and world, particularly the shorts. So you will still have opportunities to see these women filmmakers’ work that I will recommend.

All my recommended films in the Festival-- shorts and features, by those who identify as female and others -- are listed at: Mandel Maven's Nest Reel Life: Flick Pix. I will primarily be able to view films available through “Tribeca At Home” Virtual Cinema.

SPECIAL SCREENING
Untitled Dave Chappelle Documentary




NORA EPHRON AWARD-ELIGIBLE: FEATURE NARRATIVE FILMS BY WOMEN WRITER/DIRECTORS AT 2021 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL?

as of yet
The Justice of Bunny King
Mark, Mary & Some Other People
The Novice
Queen of Glory
Roaring ‘20s
Souad


OTHER NARRATIVE FEATURES WRITTEN/DIRECTED BY WOMEN AT 2021 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
Glob Lessons
How It Ends
India Sweets and Spices
No Man Of God
Perfume De Gardenias
Shapeless


DOCUMENTARY FEATURES DIRECTED BY WOMEN AT 2021 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
Ailey
Ascension
Being Bebe
Building A Bridge
The Conductor
Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story
The Legend of the Underground
Larry Flynt For President
LFG
Mission: Joy - Finding Happiness In Troubled Times
No Ordinary Life
No Straight Lines: The Rise Of Queer Comics
On The Divide
Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It
Sisters on Track
Tigre Gente


SHORTS DIRECTED BY WOMEN AT 2021 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

Narrative Shorts
Ashes
The Cocktail Party
Coco & Gigi
Cracked
Cupids
Death and the Lady
Esther in Wonderland
Girl With A Thermal Gun
GraceLand
I’m Listening
In The Air
Leaf Boat
Leap
Leylak
Liza Anonymous
Magnolia Bloom
Mother
Peninsula
Shell Game
Touching


Documentary Shorts
19 Seventy Free: Part 1
Black Birth
Change The Name
Game Changer
Grottaroli
Miss Panama
Resist: The Resistance Revival Chorus
A Song of Grace
Takeover
Virtual Voice


SPECIAL EVENTS
Tribeca Talks: Gina Prince-Bythewood and Sanaa Lathan
Tribeca Talks: Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski
Tribeca Talks: Shira Haas and Ali Wentworth


TRIBECA TV
Biography: KISStory
Blindspotting
Conversation with Tina Fey, Meredith Scardino and their collaborators
David Makes Man
Kevin Can F**K Himself
The Mysterious Benedict Society


N.O.W. (NEW ONLINE WORK) SHOWCASE
if i’m alive next week...
Incarceration Nations
VIRAL


IMMERSIVE: VIRTUAL REALITY
The Changing Scene: Episode 1
A Life in Pieces: The Diary and Letters of Stanley Hayami
Madrid Noir
Marco & Polo Go Round
Mine
Missing Pictures Episode 2: Tsai Ming-liang
The Passengers: The Kid
Rebels


X AWARDS FINALISTS WITH WOMEN DIRECTORS
Chinese New Year - Nian
CURRENT
Dear Future Me
Dear Santa
A Woman’s Place


WOMEN CREW-ED: WITH WOMEN WRITERS, CINEMATOGRAPHERS, EDITORS AND COMPOSERS AT 2021 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

SPECIAL SCREENINGS
In the Heights
No Sudden Move


NARRATIVE FEATURES
7 Days
Asking For It
The Ballad of a White Cow
Brighton 4th
Catch the Fair One
Creation Stories
Dating & New York
Do Not Hesitate
False Positive
Italian Studies
Werewolves Within


DOCUMENTARY FEATURES
Accepted
A-HA The Movie
All These Sons
Blind Ambition
A Choice Of Weapons: Inspired By Gordon Parks
Claydream
Death of My Two Fathers
Father of the Cyborgs
Fathom
Ferguson Rises
The First Step
The Lost Leonardo
The Neutral Ground
North By Current
Paper & Glue
The Phantom
The Price of Freedom
Primera
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
The Scars of Ali Boulala
Stockholm Syndrome
Wolfgang


SHORTS

Narrative Shorts
Beautiful They
Blush
Enjoy
How To Fall In Love In A Pandemic
Leylak
Navozande, The Musician
Nuts
Pearl and Henry
Silence
Try To Flys


Documentary Shorts
Queen of Basketball
Radical Love


SPECIAL SCREENING

Untitled Dave Chappelle Documentary
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director Julia Reichert (World Premiere – Closing Night Gala at Radio City Music Hall)

NORA EPHRON AWARD-ELIGIBLE FILMS BY WOMEN DIRECTORS AT 2021 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL?

as of yet


Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director/Writer/Star: Taylor Garron; Co-Director: Chanel James; Editor: Melissa Kan (USA) (World Premiere in “Viewpoints”)
2021 Nora Ephron Award
What could have been only a clever gimmick of making a pandemic-limited film with zoom, video selfies, and a few circumscribed exteriors, turns into a funny and moving portrait of navigating race, post-college friendship, family, loneliness, and new romantic relationship, amidst the economic and social anxieties of young New Yorkers during this fraught quarantine. Key is the magnetic Taylor Garron as “Naomi”, who conceived the idea, as encouraged by the Duplass Brothers who came on as executive producers, and is on-screen throughout, assisted by her previous collaborator Chanel James as co-director. The sharp dialogue is completely naturalistic, including her parents playing “Naomi”s parents. A joy to watch, and a clarion call to follow the careers of the team.


The Justice of Bunny King
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Gaysorn Thavat; Writer: Sophie Henderson;Cinematographer: Ginny Loane; Editor: Cushla Dillon (New Zealand) (World Premiere in “Viewpoints”)
Special Jury Mention: “to the Cast - Thomasin Mckenzie and Essie Davis, for their outstanding achievement in acting”
My review forthcoming


Mark, Mary & Some Other People


Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer: Hannah Marks (USA) (World Premiere in “US Narrative Competition”)
Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film
Putting aside that the young characters are wincibly naive about relationships, the imbalance in the casting makes the romance and open marriage even less believable. But there are lasting stand-outs in the cast. Hayley Law as “Mary” is charismatic! Whatever her appearances in TV series, she shines here, even making jargon-filled, almost satirically-phrased feminist dialogue passionately convincing. She outshines her partner such that her character’s sexual restlessness is so credible that the audience wonders why she was with “Mark” (Ben Rosenfield) at all. In a secondary role as “Lana” her gay friend/punk bandmate, Odessa A’zion grabs screen attention in loud, yet funny, confrontations, as well as switching to be a warmly supportive gal pal. These outstanding young women make the film worthwhile to start following their careers.


The Novice
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer: Lauren Hadaway (USA) (World Premiere in U.S. Narrative Competition)
Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature Film; Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film: Isabelle Furman; Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film: Todd Martin
My review forthcoming


Queen of Glory
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer/Star Nana Mensah; Cinematographer Cybel Martin (USA) (World Premiere in US Narrative Competition)
Magnolia Pictures release.
Special Jury Prize for Artistic Expression: “for opening audiences up to an intimate and personal story, exploring cultural identity and family, with delicate nuance and humor and heart.”; Best New Narrative Director
My review forthcoming


Roaring 20s (Années 20)
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Co-Writer/Cinematographer: Elisabeth Vogler; Co-Writer: Noémie Schmidt (France) (World Premiere in “International Narrative Competition”)
Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film; Special Jury Mention: “Cast ensemble for their characters and dialogue both written and improvised seamlessly that provide a portrait timeless and true.”
This re-plays a familiar genre of following different people as they happen to cross paths, without any back-story pay-off of discovering relationships. The film pretty much only provides enjoyable views from walking around different Parisian neighborhoods, and a few entertaining vignettes charming actors.


Souad
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Co-Writer: Ayten Amin (Egypt, Tunisia, Germany) (International Premiere in “International Narrative Competition”)
Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film: Bassant Ahmed & Basmala Elghaiesh
My review forthcoming


OTHER NARRATIVE FEATURES DIRECTED BY WOMEN AT 2021 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

How It Ends
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director/Co-Writer/Star: Zoe Lister-Jones; Co-Editor: Libby Cuenin (USA) (New York Premiere in “Spotlight Narrative”)
My review forthcoming


India Sweets And Spices
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer: Geeta Malik (USA) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Narrative”)
An India-American take on Crazy Rich Asians veers towards sit-com, but is saved, first, by the live-wire performance of Sophia Ali as restless college student high-achiever “Alia”. Second, her summer stay-cation in her family’s wealthy suburban ethnic enclave (portrayed in amusing detail of behaviors and outfits) gets a couple of surprising twists as their lives intersect with those who have taken over the titular Indian food market.


No Man of God
Director Amber Sealey; Cinematographer: Karina Silva; Composer: Clarice Jensen (USA) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Narrative”)
Synopsis and Schedule
RLJE release June 11.
Not available to review.


Perfume De Gardenias
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer: Macha Colón/Gisela Rosario Ramos (Puerto Rico, Colombia ) (World Premiere in “Viewpoints”)
My review forthcoming


Shapeless


Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Samantha Aldana; Co-Writer/Star: Kelly Murtagh; Composer: Mandy Hoffman; Director of Photography: Natalie Kingston (USA) (World Premiere in “Midnight”)
Despite the “genre” section slot, this is a viscerally effective view of the descent into eating disorders, such as bulimia, as inspired by the personal experiences of Murtagh. Her primarily female team spent almost a year to fully understand the condition, and the visuals and sound design, amplified by the night-time in New Orleans setting, really help the audience get inside the head of this crippling mental illness that can usually only be “seen” by increasing thinness and regurgitation.


DOCUMENTARY FEATURES DIRECTED BY WOMEN AT 2021 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL


Ailey
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Jamila Wignot; Cinematographer: Naiti Gámez; Editor: Annukka Lilja; Archival Producer: Rebecca Kent (USA) (New York Premiere in “Critics’ Week”)
NEON release July 16 in theaters and digital platforms; eventually on PBS American Masters
An intensely intimate chronological biography of African-American dance innovator Alvin Ailey is intertwined with verité footage of Rennie Harris developing, choreographing, and rehearsing a tribute to his life and art on his company’s dancers. While the source of the audio of Ailey talking quite frankly about his early life in Texas, his mother, and getting to Los Angeles to discover role models Katherine Dunham and Lester Horton is not identified while accompanied with period and personal stills and footage, the archival search found the television programs that featured modern dance to be able to see him dance as a young man, even if originally on grainy black and white kinescope. The clips from his iconic dances, annotated by the dancers they were created on, are thrilling. While I was surprised how little Carmen de Lavallade is asked about their youth together, compared to how much she revealed about him in her bio-doc Carmen & Geoffrey (2005), other dancers with personal experiences do talk; many anguish that they couldn’t help him more as he faced the hidden stress of being a gay Black man up through Reagan’s America, particularly as he faced AIDS.


Ascension
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Editor/Co-Cinematographer: Jessica Kingdon (USA) (World Premiere in “Documentary Competition”)
Best Documentary Feature 2021; Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director
My review forthcoming


Being Bebe
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Co- /Co-Writer: Emily Branham; Composer: Helene Faussart (Les Nubians) (USA, Cameroon) (World Premiere in “Online”)

Building A Bridge
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director: Shannon Post; Co-Editor: Ellen Knechel (USA) (World Premiere in “Viewpoints”)

The Conductor
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Co-Writer: Bernadette Wegenstein; Co-Cinematographers: Shana Hagan and Judith Benedikt (USA) (World Premiere in “Viewpoints”)

Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Laura Fairrie; Cinematographer: Lynda Hall (UK) (World Premiere in “Documentary Spotlight”)
CNN Films

Larry Flynt For President
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Co-Writer: Nadia Szold; Co-Director of Photography: Larissa Supplitt; Co-Composer: Maia Ibar (USA) (World Premiere)
FilmNation Entertainment

The Legend of the Underground
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Directors: Giselle Bailey and Nneka Onuorah; Editor: Rabab Haj Yahya (Nigeria, USA) (World Premiere in “Viewpoints”)
HBO

LFG
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director/Writer: Andrea Nix Fine (USA) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Documentary”)
Streaming on HBOMAX June 24

Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times Of Ben Fong-Torres
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer: Suzanne Joe Kai (USA) (World Premiere in “Documentary Competition”)

Mission: Joy - Finding Happiness In Troubled Times
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director: Peggy Callahan (USA) (World Premiere in “Online”)

No Ordinary Life
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Heather O’Neill (USA) (World Premiere in “Online”)

No Straight Lines: The Rise Of Queer Comics
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Vivian Kleiman; editors: Christiane Badgley and Linda Peckham (USA) (World Premiere in “Movies Plus”)
Following the June 12 premiere screening will be a panel with featured cartoonists, Kleiman, and LGBTQ comics historian Justin Hall.

On The Divide
Synopsis and Schedule
Directors: Maya Cueva and Leah Galant; Co-Cinematographer: Leah Galant; Editor: Berenice Chávez; Co-Composer: Judy Hyman (USA) (World Premiere in “Documentary Competition”)

Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Co-Editor: Mariem Pérez Riera (USA) (New York Premiere in “Critics’ Week”)
Roadside Attractions release in theaters June 18, eventually on PBS American Masters
Rita Moreno is refreshingly frank about her biography and 70+ year career – as a Puerto Rican and a woman in Hollywood, as the camera follows her through her homes, dressing rooms and make-up tables. The clips from “Rosita”s contract work in “the pictures” are racist revelations in the number and continuing stereotypes she had to portray from 1950 on as “the dusky maiden”, the indigenous, sexy “other” lover, including in The King and I (1956) role that Yul Brynner warned her was “boring”. (The young, inner “Rosita” is effectively symbolized throughout by animated 1940s paper dolls.) Filmed while watching Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser bravely testify at his confirmation hearing, she is explicit on her own #MeToo experiences with the off-screen lechery, abuse, and domination to which she was subjected by men. There’s clips of talks she’s given on her fraught background, accompanied by sprightly Latin songs, including several by her.
Taking the title from her favorite T-shirt, Moreno proudly accounts her re-inventions for her amazing career longevity and breadth in entertainment to earn her the rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Awards (as seen in clips of iconic roles that she notes did not bring her more diverse work). She highly recommends therapy to ground oneself through crises, while her daughter (and now performance collaborator) feels her mother’s decades of activism for women’s rights channels her fury against personal and artistic oppression. Despite the imprimatur of the gloss-over American Masters series with the usual piling-on-praise not necessarily illuminating interviews, Moreno’s energy and optimism are so wonderful that it is hard to believe she is almost 90!


Sisters on Track
Synopsis and Schedule
Directors: Corinne van der Borch and Tone Grøttjord-Glenne; Co-Cinematographer: Corinne van der Borch; Co-Editor: Cheree Dillon (USA) (North American Premiere in “Online”)
Netflix release on June 24.

Tigre Gente
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Elizabeth Unger; Editors: Jill Schweitzer and Alistair Shurman (USA) (World Premiere in “Online”)

SHORTS

Narrative Shorts

Ashes
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer/Cinematographer/Editor: Joanna Dudek (Poland) (World Premiere in “Animated Shorts Curated by Whoopi G”)

The Cocktail Party
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer/Cinematographer/Editor: Joanna Dudek (USA) (World Premiere in “Straight Up With A Twist”)

Coco & Gigi
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer: Rosie Perez (USA) (World Premiere in WITH/IN Vol. 1 in “Movies Plus”)

Cracked
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer/Co-Editor: Lin Que Ayoung; Cinematographer: Lorena Duran (USA) (World Premiere in “New York New York 2021”)

Cupids
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Co-Writer: Zoey Martinson; Co-Writer: Julie Sharbutt (USA) (World Premiere in “8:46 Films: Saturday Morning”)

Death and the Lady
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director/Co-Writer: Lucy Struever (USA) (World Premiere in “Animated Shorts Curated by Whoopi G”)

Esther in Wonderland
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Co-Writer: Stephanie Bollag; Co-Writer: Lily Lyor Askenazi; Cinematographer: Zamarin Wahdat; Composer: Shruti Kumar (USA, Switzerland) (World Premiere in “New York 2021”)

Girl With A Thermal Gun
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer: Rongfei Guo; Cinematographer: Cecile Zhang; Editor: Zhang JIngyi (China) (North American Premiere in “Straight Up With A Twist”)

Glob Lessons
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Co-Writer/Editor/co- /Star: Nicole Rodenburg (USA) (World Premiere in “Online”)
My review forthcoming


GraceLand
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Co-Writer: Bonnie Discepolo; Cinematographer: Zelmira Gainza (USA) (New York Premiere in “Pursuing Happiness”)

I’m Listening
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Mickey Sumner; Co-Writer: Portia Alen-Buckley (USA) (World Premiere in WITH/IN Vol. 2 in “Movies Plus”)

In The Air
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director/Co-Writer: Elizabeth Marvel (USA) (World Premiere in WITH/IN Vol. 2 in “Movies Plus”)

Leaf Boat
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer: Efa Blosse-Mason; Editor: Caroline Lynch-Blosse; Composer: Casi Wyn (Wales) (New York Premiere in “Animated Shorts Curated by Whoopi G”)

Leap
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Sanaa Lathan; Writer: Margaret Nagle (USA) (World Premiere in WITH/IN Vol. 1 in “Movies Plus”)

Liza Anonymous
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Aubrey Smyth; Writer: Leah McKendrick; Director of Photography: Chloe Smolkin; Editor: Samantha Smith; Composer: Joanna Katcher (USA) (World Premiere in “New York New York 2021”)

Magnolia Bloom
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Tayo Amos (USA) (World Premiere in “Pursuing Happiness” and “Shining Stars”)

Mother
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director/Co-Writer: Maya Singer (USA) (World Premiere in WITH/IN Vol. 1 in “Movies Plus”)

Peninsula
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Fiona McKenzie (New Zealand) (World Premiere in “Let’s Fly Away”)

Shell Game
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer: Gina Gershon (USA) (World Premiere in WITH/IN Vol. 2 in “Movies Plus”)

Touching
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director/Co-Writer: Julianne Nicholson (USA) (World Premiere in WITH/IN Vol. 2 in “Movies Plus”)

Documentary Shorts

19 Seventy Free: Part 1
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director/Co-Writer/Co-Cinematographer/Editor: AmaYah Harrison (USA) (World Premiere in “Art and Soul” and “Shining Stars”)

Black Birth
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Haimy Assefa; Co-Cinematographer: Nora Ballard ; Editor: Yaara Sumeruk (USA) (World Premiere in “Queen Collective”)

Change The Name
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Co-Cinematographer: Cai Thomas; Editor: Paloma Martinez (USA) (World Premiere in “Queen Collective”)

Game Changer
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Tina Charles (USA) (World Premiere in “Queen Collective”)

Grottaroli
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director/Co-Writer/Co-Editor: Cecilia Pignocchi (Italy, Netherlands) (World Premiere in “Let’s Fly Away”)

Miss Panama
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Directors: Lamar Bailey Karamañites and Pascale Boucicaut; Co-Cinematographer: Rashid Zakat; Co-Editor: Melina Tupa; Original Songs: Mai-Elka Prado Gil (USA) (World Premiere in “Acting Out”)
Topic will stream.

Resist: The Resistance Revival Chorus
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Writer: Susan O’Brien; Cinematographer: Daisy Zhou, Allie Schultz, and Susan O'Brien; Editor: Kallie Billadeau (USA) (World Premiere in “Art and Soul”)

A Song of Grace
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Arielle Knight (USA) (World Premiere in “Acting Count”)

Takeover
Synopsis and Schedule
Director/Co-writer: Emma Francis-Snyder; Cinematographers: Tine DiLucia and Nicole Velez (USA) (World Premiere)

Virtual Voice
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Suzannah Mirghani (Sudan, Qatar) (World Premiere in “Acting Out”)

WOMEN CREW-ED: FILMS BY WOMEN WRITERS, CINEMATOGRAPHERS, EDITORS AND COMPOSERS AT 2021TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

In The Heights
Synopsis and Schedule
Screenplay/Musical Book: Quiara Alegría Hudes; Cinematographer: Alice Brooks (USA) (Gala – Five Borough Opening Night World Premiere)
Warner Brothers release in theaters and HBO Max on June 10
Playwright Hudes has been a key collaborator on the project since 2004: she tweeted in 2018: “In The Heights is part of my heart and soul. I created it about respect, community and solidarity.” She has adapted her script from the stage version, through off-Broadway debut in 2007, and the next year on Broadway, where she was nominated for a Tony (and where I saw it). For the film, she kept the strongly bi-lingual Latinx dialogue, subtracted and added characters (including a lesbian couple), and updated the gentrification story-line to a bit awkwardly include undocumented immigrant issues around those youngsters who do and don’t qualify for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), with no mention that doesn’t apply to the many Puerto Ricans in the story.
The opening up visually to the Washington Heights neighborhood that is central to the story, in Upper Manhattan with its connection to the George Washington Bridge, provides a field day for Director of Photography Brooks. Having worked a decade ago with director Jon Chu on TV dancing series, she draws on every trope of the best movie musicals, especially ones that only pretended to be outside. Her camera ventures up and wide to salute Busby Berkeley and Esther Williams, the Golden Age of MGM Musicals, to the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein screen adaptations. She covers a large, talented dancing and singing cast (her Steadicam crew was kept busy), then effectively gets intimate for the touching family and romantic interactions.
While Lin-Manuel Miranda is the creator and musical force behind this wonderful film, and Jon Chu the director, these two female crew-members are essential to its spectacular cinematic success.


No Sudden Move
Synopsis and Schedule
Editor: Mary Ann Bernard (USA) (Outdoor World Premiere in “Centerpiece Gala for Tribeca’s 20th Anniversary”)
Warner Brothers release in theaters and HBO Max on July 1

NARRATIVE FEATURES

7 Days
Synopsis and Schedule
Editor: Stephanie Kaznocha; Composer: Amanda Jones (USA) (World Premiere in “Viewpoints”)
My review forthcoming


Asking For It
Synopsis and Schedule
Cinematographer: Jendra Jarnagin; Composer: Lilah Larson (USA) (World Premiere in “Online”)

The Ballad of a White Cow
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director/Co-Writer/Star: Maryam Moghaddam (France, Iran) (North American Premiere in “Critics’ Week”)

Brighton 4th
Synopsis and Schedule
Editor: Elene Asatiani (Georgia, Russia, Bulgaria, Monaco, USA) (World Premiere in “International Narrative Competition”)
Best International Narrative Feature Film; Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film: Levan Tediashvili; Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film: Boris Frumin
My review forthcoming


Catch The Fair One
Synopsis and Schedule
Story Co-Writer/Star: Kali Reis (USA) (World Premiere in “US Narrative Competition”)
Special Jury Mention: “Kali Reis, for her magnetic performance. She kept audiences on the edge of their seats with her strength and vulnerability in a performance that always felt deeply honest.”
My review forthcoming


Creation Stories
Synopsis and Schedule
Editor: Emma Gaffney (UK) (World Premiere in “Online”)
With almost half the dialogue about rock ‘n’ roll (and drugs) lost in the fast Glaswegian patter of Alan McGee (young - Leo Flanagan, adult - Ewen Bremner) as ensconced in the sound of Creation Records bands of the 1980s and 1990s, such as Jesus and Mary Chain to Oasis, from McGee’s autobiography written with Trainspottings Irvine Welsh, the busy visuals otherwise carry the film. Gaffney’s editing of an incredible array of archival materials, segued with re-enactments, and the time flows between the adult telling a journalist about his life of coincidences and music are dazzling rhythmic montages that brilliantly carry the humor and the story.


Dating & New York
Synopsis and Schedule
Cinematographer: Maria Rusche; Editor: Hanna Park (USA) (World Premiere in “Online”)
My review forthcoming


Do Not Hesitate
Synopsis and Schedule
Writer: Jolein Laarman; Co-Composer: Ella van der Woude (Greece, Netherlands) (World Premiere in “International Narrative Competition”)
My review forthcoming


False Positive
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Writer/Star: Ilana Frazer; Co-Story Writer: Alissa Nutting; Co-Composer/Vocalist: Lucy Railton (USA) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Narrative”)
A24/ Hulu release on July 25
Update of Rosemary’s Baby crossed with Boys in Brazil. The score and sound design are very effective.


Italian Studies
Synopsis and Schedule
Editors: Sara Shaw, Erin DeWitt, Kristan Sprague, and Betsy Kagen (USA) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Narrative”)
My review forthcoming


Werewolves Within
Synopsis and Schedule
Writer: Mishna Wolff; Composer: Anna Drubich (USA) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Narrative”)
IFC release in Theaters June 25 & On Demand July 2

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

Accepted
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Cinematographer: Daphne Qin Wu; Co-Editors: Arielle Zakowski and Jean Rheem (USA) (World Premiere in “Viewpoints”)

A-HA The Movie
Synopsis and Schedule
Cinematographer: Aslaug Holm; Editor: Hilde Bjørnstad (Norway, Germany) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Documentary”)

All These Sons
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Editor: Jennifer Tiexiera (USA) (World Premiere in “Documentary Competition”)
Best Cinematography, Documentary Feature: Bing Liu & Joshua Altman
My review forthcoming


Blind Ambition
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Writer: Madeleine Ross (Australia) (World Premiere in “Documentary Competition”)

A Choice Of Weapons: Inspired By Gordon Parks
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Cinematographer: Clair Popkin (USA) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Documentary”)
HBO

Claydream
Synopsis and Schedule
Composer: Heather McIntosh (USA) (World Premiere in “Online”)
My review forthcoming


The Death of My Two Fathers
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Writer: Shoshana Guy (USA) (US Premiere in “Viewpoints”)

Father of the Cyborgs
Synopsis and Schedule
Editor: Cara Holmes (Ireland) (World Premiere in “Movies Plus”)
Cargo Film and Releasing

Fathom
Synopsis and Schedule
Editor: Robin Schwartz (USA) (World Premiere in “Documentary Competition”)
Premieres on Apple TV+ June 25.

Ferguson Rises
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Writers: Kai Bowe and Daisy Mo; Co-Editor: Nikki West (USA) (World Premiere in “Online”)

The First Step
Synopsis and Schedule
Cinematography: Emily Topper; Co-Editors: Sara Fusco, Natasha Mottola, and Leslie Simmer (USA) (World Premiere in “Online”)
With a lot of edited archival material on Van Jones’s legal, Black activist, government, media career and family in Tennessee, as well as the opposition from left and right to his positions, the verité camerawork is the most involving, especially of the uneasy meetings Jones stages between anti-addiction community organizers in White conservative West Virginia and progressive Black/Latino Los Angeles, especially when they share their personal losses due to opioids, heroin or cocaine. (The folks from the hollers, as they self-describe, including a Sheriff, are surprised to learn that so many of the addicts in L.A. who are people of color end up incarcerated.) The camera follows those of the participants who are willing to use their emotional experiences to join together in lobbying both sides of the aisle in Congress and the unpredictable White House (“the dark star” one of Jones’s organizational colleagues calls it) for The Son-in-Law’s bipartisan minimal criminal justice reform bill. The lack of facts and details about the proposed legislation makes the usual lobbying scenes more frenzy than substance. Of course, there are many more cameras around when Jones gets Kim “Don’t ruin the make-up” Kardashian into the Oval Office to personally lobby the 45th President. (Note: Jones’s co-founded organization #cut50 seen in the documentary, and not well explained, is now called Dream Corps JUSTICE.)


The Lost Leonardo
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Writer Duska Zagorac (Denmark, France, Sweden) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Documentary”)
Sony Pictures Classics release in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on August 13, followed by a national release.
My review forthcoming


The Neutral Ground
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Writer/Editor: Jane Geisler; Composer: Sultana Isham (USA) (World Premiere in “Movies Plus”)
Broadcast on PBS Independent Lens July 5

North By Current
Synopsis and Schedule
Composer: Julien Baker (USA) (North American Premiere in “Viewpoints”)

Paper & Glue
Synopsis and Schedule
Editor: Keiko Deguchi (France) (World Premiere in “Movies Plus”)

The Phantom
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Editor: Claire Ferguson (USA) (World Premiere in “Online”)
Greenwich Entertainment release in theaters July 2.

The Price of Freedom
Synopsis and Schedule
Editor: Leah Goudsmit (USA) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Documentary”)
Abramorama release in theaters July 7.

Primera
Synopsis and Schedule
Editor: Elisa Correa (Chile) (World Premiere in “Online”)

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Editor: Eileen Meyer (USA) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Documentary”)
Focus Features release in theaters.

The Scars Of Ali Boulala
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Cinematographer: Iga Mikler (USA) (World Premiere in “Documentary Competition”)

Stockholm Syndrome
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Editor: Kathryn Robson (USA) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Documentary”)

Wolfgang
Synopsis and Schedule
Editor: Arielle Zakowsk (USA) (World Premiere in “Spotlight Documetary”)
Premieres on Disney+ June 25.
Despite the exaggerated complimentary culinary attributions to Wolfgang Puck by most of the interviewees (fans of Berkeley’s Alice Waters may disagree with some claims), the smooth montage editing together of years of archival photographs, TV clips, headlines, nostalgic verité visits to Austria, France, and California kitchens is very impressive, making for a more cannily informative and entertaining film than the usual foodie documentaries.



SHORTS

Narrative Shorts

The Angler
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Writer/Star: Emily Beth Beacham (USA) (World Premiere in “Pursuing Happiness”)

Beautiful They
Synopsis and Schedule
Composer: Freya Berkhout (Australia) (World Premiere in “Let’s Fly Away”)

Blush
Synopsis and Schedule
Composer: Joy Ngiaw (USA) (World Premiere in “Animated Shorts Curated by Whoopi G”)
My review forthcoming


Enjoy
Synopsis and Schedule
Cinematographer: Tasha Black (USA) (World Premiere in “Pursuing Happiness”)

How To Fall In Love In A Pandemic
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Cinematographer: Mimi Wilcox (Ireland) (New York Premiere in “Let’s Fly Away”)

Leylak
Synopsis and Schedule
Cinematographer: Laura Valladao (USA) (World Premiere in “New York New York 2021”)

Navozande, The Musician
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Writer: Annetta Zucchi; Cinematographer: Nadine Buss; Editor: Myriam Copier (France) (New York Premiere in “Animated Shorts Curated by Whoopi G”)
Best Animated Short Award
My review forthcoming


Nuts
Synopsis and Schedule
Writer: Marianne Leone (USA) (World Premiere in WITH/IN Vol. 2 in “Movies Plus”)

Pearl and Henry
Synopsis and Schedule
Editor: Nailah Robinson (USA) (New York Premiere in “8:46 Films: Saturday Morning”)

Silence
Synopsis and Schedule
Editor: Shiho Etori (France) (New York Premiere in “Art and Soul” and “Shining Stars”)

Try To Fly
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Writer: Simone Swan; (Canada) (New York Premiere in “Animated Shorts Curated by Whoopi G”)

Documentary Shorts

The Queen of Basketball
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Editor: Stephanie Owens (USA) (World Premiere in “Go Big”)

Radical Love
Synopsis and Schedule
Cinematographer: Maya Dillon (USA) (World Premiere in “Acting Out”)

SPECIAL EVENTS

Gina Prince-Bythewood in conversation with Sanaa Lathan
Synopsis and Schedule
In “Tribeca Talks: Directors Series”

Amy Schumer in conversation with Emily Ratajkowski
Synopsis and Schedule
In “Tribeca Talks: Storytellers”

Shira Haas in conversation wtih Ali Wentworth
Synopsis and Schedule
In “Tribeca Talks: Storytellers”

TRIBECA TV

Blindspotting
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Executive Producers: Jess Wu Calder and Emily Gerson Saines (World Premiere) (Starz)

Biography: KISStory
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Executive Producers: Jenny Daly and Elaine Frontain Bryant (World Premiere) (A&E Network)

David Makes Man
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Executive Producers: Dee Harris-Lawrence and Oprah Winfrey (Season 2 - World Premiere) (OWN – Oprah Winfrey Network)
After the Screening conversation includes showrunner Dee Harris-Lawrence.

Kevin Can F**K Himself
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Executive Producers: Valerie Armstrong and Rashida Jones (World Premiere) (AMC)
After the Screening conversation includes creator Valerie Armstrong.

The Mysterious Benedict Society
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Executive Producers: Jaime Tarses and Karen Kehela Sherwood (World Premiere) (Disney+)
Based on the best-selling children’s book series by Trenton Lee Stewart, published 2007 - 2019.
First season has eight episodes. This was the final television series produced by Jamie Tarses; she passed away in February due to complications from a cardiac arrest.
My review forthcoming


Conversation with Tina Fey, Meredith Scardino and Collaborators
Synopsis and Schedule
Collaborators Robert Carlock and Jeff Richmond

N.O.W. (New Online Work)/ONLINE SHOWCASE 2021 BY WOMEN DIRECTORS

if i’m alive next week...
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Director/Co-Writer/Co-Project Creator: Jennifer Morris (USA) (World Premiere)

Incarceration Nations: A Global Docuseries
Synopsis and Schedule
Director: Dr. Baz Dreisinger (USA, Brazil, Malawi, South Africa, Taiwan R.O.C., Argentina, Australia, Canada, Rwanda, Italy, Czech Republic) (World Premiere)
Based on Dreisinger’s 2016 book Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World, and her work with the Incarceration Nations Network (INN).

VIRAL
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Directors/Co-Project Creators: Camille Casmier and Chloe Howard (USA) (World Premiere)

IMMERSIVE: VIRTUAL REALITY CREATED BY WOMEN

The Changing Same: Episode 1
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Directors/Project Creators: Michèle Stephenson and Yasmin Elayat; Co-Writer: Michèle Stephenson (USA) (New York Premiere in “Virtual Arcade”)

A Life in Pieces: The Diary and Letters of Stanley Hayami
Synopsis and Schedule
Key Collaborator: Sharon Yamato (USA) (World Premiere in “Virtual Arcade”)

Madrid Noir
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Key Collaborator: Yelena Rachistky (Oculus); Co-Writer: Lydia Rynne (France) (World Premiere in “Virtual Arcade”)

Marco & Polo Go Round
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Key Collaborator: Cindy Ou (Belgium, Canada) (World Premiere in “Virtual Arcade”)

Mine
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Key Collaborator: Luisa Dantas (USA) (World Premiere in “Virtual Arcade”)

Missing Pictures Episode 2: Tsai Ming-liang
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Key Collaborators: Oriane Hurard (ATLAS V), Estela Valdivieso Chen (Serendipity), Marianne Lévy-Leblond (ARTE), and Lamia Dabboussy (BBC) (France, Luxembourg, Taiwan R.O.C., UK) (World Premiere in “Virtual Arcade”)

The Passengers: The Kid
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Key Collaborator: Karen Vanderborght; Co-Project Creator: Camille Duvelleroy; Co-Writer: Coralie Majouga; Co-Lead Artists: Maude Thibodeau and Joséphine Derobe (Canada, France) (World Premiere in “Virtual Arcade”)

Rebels
Synopsis and Schedule
Co-Key Collaborators: Eleanor Thibeaux and Yelena Rachitsky (Canada, France) (World Premiere in “Virtual Arcade”)

X AWARDS FINALISTS BY WOMEN DIRECTORS

Dear Santa
Director: Dara Nachman (USA) (Feature Film)
My commentary from a preview at 2020 DOC NYC Film Festival


Chinese New Year - Nian
Director: Lulu Wang (Short Film)

Dear Future Me
Co-Director: Sarah Klein (Short Film)

A Woman’s Place
Director: Rayka Zehtabchi (Short Film)

CURRENT
Creator: Annie Saunders (Immersive)

TRIBECA IMMERSIVE: VIRTUAL REALITY WITH WOMEN CREW

Paper Birds Pt. 1 & 2
Synopsis and Schedule
Lead Artist: Erica Villar (Argentina) (New York Premiere in “Virtual Arcade”)

Let me know what female filmmaker’s work I missed at the Festival. I will be continually updating this guide. Contact Nora Lee Mandel at mandelshultz@yahoo.com@NLM_MavensNest





updated 6/21/2021




Nora Lee Mandel is a member of New York Film Critics Online. Her reviews are counted in the Rotten Tomatoes TomatoMeter:
Complete Index to Nora Lee Mandel's Movie Reviews

My reviews have appeared on: Film-Forward; FF2 Media; Lilith, FilmFestivalTraveler; and, Alliance of Women Film Journalists and for Jewish film festivals. Shorter versions of my older reviews are at IMDb's comments, where non-English-language films are listed by their native titles.


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